03 Aug 2017

Back pain can be annoying, uncomfortable, and limiting for short periods of time, but if it goes away, no big deal right? Wrong. Chronic back pain that flares up repeatedly can lead to a host of negative  behaviors that can have serious consequences on your overall health and wellbeing. These include:




Back pain, especially lower back pain or neck and shoulder pain, can put anyone off physical exercise for a while. Resting more and avoiding exertion seems like the most plausible way to help your body heal, however, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Inactivity leads to spending more time sitting which a growing body of evidence shows is detrimental to your health and can contribute to heart disease, diabetes, and premature death.


Skipping daily exercise can also contribute to unwanted weight gain, which especially around the midsection can worsen back pain. How? When you gain weight in the belly area, your center of gravity actually shifts forwards. This causes you to imperceptibly alter your gait and even lean forward more when sitting, standing, and walking. This forward leaning position pulls on the spine and connected muscles as well as the places added internal stress on hip and knee joints.


Bad Posture


Plainly put, chronic back pain makes sitting up straight tough. Inflamed and strained back muscles feel tighter and shortened, and joints might even feel stiff. Lengthening the spine, dropping the shoulders back, and breathing deeply as you do with good posture practice might even send pangs of pain through your back and neck.


The result? You may find yourself slouching or slumping when sitting down, or craning your neck and hunching your shoulders while working at the computer or looking at your phone. Unfortunately, bad posture from back pain only exacerbates the cause of the back pain in the first place.




It’s no surprise that stress can actually manifest itself as tension in your back, neck, and shoulder muscles, which leads to pain. But chronic pain, especially back pain that makes daily living difficult, can be its own source of stress as well. Frustration with not feeling better and depressed moods from avoiding exercise and not staying active can all culminate into overwhelming stress that might bleed into other areas of your life.


Stress has been shown to negatively impact sleep quality, activity levels, and digestion amongst other things. If back pain has you reaching for junk food and vegging out on the couch all day watching TV because you’re tired and stressed, it’s definitely time to address the issue and seek a treatment plan.

Common Treatments for Back Pain


Don’t let your back pain put your overall health at risk. Common treatments that have been recommended by medical experts include:


  • Exercise: Low-impact exercises that don’t strain muscles but rather stretch and loosen them as well as boost blood flow include tennis, rowing, hiking, dancing, swimming, and brisk walks.


  • Bracing: Temporarily wearing a back brace to apply compression to inflamed muscles and to support and stabilize the spine may help with pain relief. Back braces may also serve as preventative aids for people who do a lot of heavy lifting.


  • Ice therapy: Applying an ice pack or cold compress to warm and inflamed muscles for 10 to 20 minutes at a time can restrict blood flow to the area, reduce swelling, and numb spasming nerve endings to temporarily stop pain.


  • Topical Creams: Topical ointments, gels, salves, and muscle relief creams can provide temporary analgesic effects through natural ingredients (like arnicare, menthol, capsacin) that alter the pain sensations in your muscles and joints.


    • Yoga: The stretching, deep breathing, and meditation components of yoga practice serve as both low-impact exercise as well as a helpful posture booster and stress reducer. More limber and pliable muscles that result from regular yoga practice are less likely to cause back pain.

Additional back pain remedies might include massage, spinal manipulation, or taking over the counter NSAIDs to reduce inflammation, loosen muscles, and alleviate pain.

4 thoughts on “Dangers of Back Pain (And What to Do About It)

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